Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Uff da

That title should throw Google off, but my friends of Norwegian extraction will get it.

I was hoping that a morning spent chasing the squirrel off the bird feeder would be followed by an afternoon of freedom from the critters, but such was not my luck: I came across a whole gang of them writing this site. Fortunately for me, they're French-Canadian squirrels, not at all likely to range this far south. Unfortunately, for those of you who don't at least read French (and their French is slangy (or slangish, or something. Definitely not Academie Francaise-style) it'll take a more sophisticated translator than is available on the free-use market to make it comprehensible.

So, if you don't read and/or speak French, don't bother, because even if you find an on-line translator that will handle the text, the cartoons won't get translated, and you'll miss some of the fun. But the most recent cartoon is a VERY clever retelling of a certain joke widely circulated here concerning a monkey and a tiger. And the photos of the authors have a certain appeal.

You know, I take a certain pride in having been born a mutt in mid-America, and having achieved a level of fluency in French and English both. I just wish I were as fluent in Windows as I am in Mac, so I could do all the diacritical marks on this machine.

I was born in Minnesota, and I know how to talk Minnesotan well enough that most of the people there still understand me when I visit.

I came of age (sort of) in Nevada, and never had a language problem. That may be because Nevada's population is growing as much by immigration from other states as it is by increases in the native population, which process mixes and flattens the dialect, but still.

But now I find myself living in Texas, y'all. And I understand and appreciate both the meaning and the value of that term. It's an extraordinary adaptation of language, in that it enables an English-speaker to differentiate between a singular and a plural "you." I can yap at a single squirrel with "You! Get off the bird feeder!" or I can yap at the three who chase each other in the neighbor's cypress tree with "Y'all better stay on that side of the fence!," but it will never flow trippingly from my tongue.

Uff da.

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